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Dr Mona Elbalshy, a trained endocrinologist, is really excited to be able to combine her clinical work with research into devices that can improve the lives of patients and their families.

Mona is completing a PhD supervised by two EDOR researchers, Associate Professors Ben Wheeler and Barbara Galland, focusing on the role of new technology in the management of type 1 diabetes.

The MiaoMiao study

Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common chronic illnesses of childhood. Glucose monitoring is essential for the management of Type 1 diabetes but presents a large burden in terms of time and discomfort for the children and their families. New technology that reduces some of this burden is available but it is extremely expensive. This technology, called continuous glucose monitoring, provides continuous readings of glucose every 1-5 minutes to the patient.

Recently a third-party solution from China has been released that can convert a cheaper glucose monitoring system (the Abbott Freestyle Libre) into a fully functional continuous glucose monitor. This combination provides savings of about $2,000-5,000 per year. While exciting in concept, this product has no regulatory approval, and there is no current research into its function or safety in children with Type 1 diabetes. However, many patients are already adopting and purchasing this device from the internet, independent of their medical team.

The MiaoMiao study aims to investigate this device using a randomised controlled crossover trial, during real life use in 55 young children (aged 2-13 years) and their families. If proven to be of benefit, this study will help to provide healthier, more equitable and cost-effective diabetes care to children and their families.

Dedicated to the children

As a result of her clinical work in the area of diabetes, Mona has a strong desire to make life easier for those living with type 1 diabetes. She is especially delighted to see the positive effects that new technologies can have for children and their families living with this chronic and sometimes life-threatening disease.

Mona's first hand experience of the often difficult path that diabetes patients and their families must navigate, really drives her research interest to help improve their lives.

A passion for learning

Mona grew up in Egypt and as a child was fascinated with the amazing history of her home country. She undertook her primary medical qualification and a Master's Degree at Benha University, Egypt. After completing her advanced training in endocrinology, Mona worked as a registrar at Benha University Hospital for six years before moving to New Zealand.

Prior to commencing her doctoral studies, Mona completed a graduate diploma in Human Nutrition and then undertook a Masters of Science looking at how the processing of cereals affects the level of blood glucose in patients with diabetes mellitus.

Her PhD studies in the Department of Women and Children's Health fulfills her passion for combining both diabetes research and clinical work, which she hopes will make a real difference in the lives of those affected by this chronic disease.

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